Sports

Overview

Miller Thomson’s Sports Industry Group represents clients ranging from professional sports teams and local teams to national organizations and professional and amateur leagues. We have handled general and specialized issues for high profile clients, including NHL salary arbitrations on behalf of teams, financing for professional sports teams, major international championships, corporate governance, and international sports arbitration.

The laws, regulations, and internal rules, constitutions, and by-laws governing the sports industry are complex. Navigating the myriad issues that can arise is difficult and requires a practical approach.  Attention to potential liabilities, such as intellectual property rights and contracting disputes, is increasingly necessary. Recognizing the diversity of each problem, we work with clients on a case-by-case basis to assemble a customized team to meet your varying legal needs.

Drawing on our entertainment and media, corporate and commercial, intellectual property, labour and employment, real estate, and tax practices, our comprehensive solutions include:

Disputes

  • Salary arbitrations on behalf of NHL teams
  • Disputes between players and teams, leagues, and international federations
  • Doping and drug related disputes
  • Suspensions of players and appearance at disciplinary hearings
  • Arbitrations

Business Structures

  • Governance of companies, societies, membership of teams, etc.
  • Cross-border issues
  • Capitalization and funding/borrowing
  • Structure for leagues, teams and players

Sports Contracts

  • Team, tournament, league, and event contracting
  • Event and tournament rules
  • Sports equipment manufacturing and specifications
  • Player contracts and sponsorships
  • Sponsorship contracts
  • Promotion agreements
  • Television/radio rights

Acquisitions and Financing

  • Purchase and sale of professional sports teams
  • Acquisition and working capital financing
  • Monetization of stadium naming rights
  • Intercreditor arrangements between Financial Institutions and governing leagues
  • Venue construction financings
  • Margined facilities in favour of professional athletes

Marketing, Advertising and Regulatory

  • Contests, sweepstakes and promotions
  • Co-promotion, sponsorship, coventure, media buy and other agreements
  • Advertising review, clearances and standards
  • Rewards /incentives programs
  • Price advertising
  • Ambush, email and social marketing
  • Rights of publicity and privacy

Intellectual Property

  • Event, venue, player and team naming rights
  • Protection of trade-marks, copyrights and domain names
  • Team branding
  • Broadcasting

Workplace Relations

  • Labour relations and employment
  • Engagement of team members, coaches and trainers
  • Human rights
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Occupational Health and Safety

Venue & Event Management

  • Building of venues, naming rights and operating services
  • Broadcasting rights and agreements
  • Event advertising
  • Television and radio contracts

Real Estate

  • Development of buildings and other venues
  • Venue leasing
  • Construction contracts

E-Commerce & Internet

  • Event advertising and ticketing
  • Posting event results on websites / broadcasting or streaming of events
  • Domain name dispute resolution

Risk Management

  • Venue and event liability and insurance
  • General health insurance for competitors

Tax and Customs

  • Tax deductions for donations to, and taxation of, sporting teams and societies
  • Characterization of various payments to stakeholders

Private Client Services

  • Trust and will strategies to achieve wealth distribution objectives while minimizing tax consequences
  • Cross-border will and trust planning

Immigration

  • Athlete and coaching visas
  • Athlete immigration

COVID-19 Resources

We have written on a variety of topics to help identify the pertinent issues, understand the legal implications, minimize risk exposure and manage legal obligations.

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